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Unemployment rises to 2.5m

UNEMPLOYMENT rose by 53,000 to 2.51m in the three months to March – the highest total since 1994, according to official figures.

However, the total number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell in April by 27,100 to 1.52m.

The rate of unemployment remained at eight per cent, the Office for National Statistics said.

Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight said: "The ongoing mixed labour market data reinforces our belief that it is premature to call the all-clear on the jobs front, despite recently improved economic activity and the overall resilience of the labour market through the economy's travails."